Below is Part One of the transcript of a lengthy interview and discussion between Dr. Peter Breggin, author of “Medication Madness – a psychiatrist exposes the dangers of mood-altering medications” and Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
In 2014, 3.2 billion drugs were prescribed in visits to doctors and hospitals!
Patrick: This is Patrick Wanis, celebrity life coach, human behavior expert and clinical hypnotherapist Ph.D. Is America the most medicated nation on earth? And if so, why? Is it possible that we all have something wrong with our brain? Well, according to data just released by the Department of Health and Human Services, America is probably the most medicated nation on earth. This data shows that at least half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug, with one in six taking three or more medications.
In 2007, anti-depressants became the most prescribed drug in the U.S. Now some doctors believe this is a positive sign that people finally seeking help with their issues. But others disagree, saying that this shows that people are becoming too dependent on anti-depressants. At the same time, in each study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in visits to doctors in hospitals in the year 2005. Of those, 118 million were anti-depressants. So again, the question remains, why are we so depressed? Is it that we all suffer from a chemical balance and an organic disorder? Is there something wrong with our brain?
Dr. Peter Breggin has been called the conscience of psychiatry because of his efforts to reform the mental health field. It includes his promotion of caring, psychotherapeutic approaches and his opposition to the escalating overuse of psychiatric medications also, the oppressive diagnosing and drugging of children, electroshock, lobotomy, involuntary treatment and false biological theories. Dr. Breggin is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former full-time consultant at NIMH. He has a private practice in New York where he treats adults, couples and families with children. He also offers consultations in clinical psychopharmacology and often acts as a medical expert in criminal malpractice and product liability suits. He’s an author of numerous books and scientific articles including his newest book: “Medication Madness: A Psychiatrist Exposes The Dangers of Mood-Altering Medications.” Dr. Breggin thanks for joining me. So, do we all have something wrong with our brain?
Peter: Well, we all have brains and brains struggle. Human beings struggle but the problem isn’t within the brain itself. The problem is in the complexity of human life and in the complexity of the stresses that we face growing up and then living in the world and the stresses of having existential choices and conflicting values. The human life has always been difficult from recorded history as early as anybody was writing. They were writing about life being difficult, people having challenges and problems to deal with. It’s only in the recent times that drug company propaganda has convinced people that these challenges that we all face in life are actually really a matter of our own biochemical imbalances and if we got our biochemicals balanced somehow, we would be able to sail through these challenges.
Patrick: Are you saying to me and everyone listening that there is no such thing as chemical imbalance, that there is no such thing as an organic disorder? That a person depressed isn’t suffering from a chemical imbalance?
Peter: As far as we know, the people who routinely come to psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors for help, feeling anxious or depressed or even very, very disturbed have absolutely nothing wrong in their brains. In fact, we wouldn’t even be able to measure a biochemical imbalance in the living human brain. The concept is entirely a PR campaign and perhaps the most – well, the most successful in the history of the world where a drug company set out along with organized psychiatry, to convince people that if they’re troubled or even desperate, that it’s about a chemical issue, not a life issue and they’ve been very successful.
Patrick: Well indeed, they have. Now, I must at this juncture say that I do agree with you and based on my work with clients, I agree with you 100 percent. But we sure have to look at this point. If you’re saying there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance, then what about all the studies and reports that have been put out by these major pharmaceuticals?
Peter: Well, actually, there aren’t studies and reports proving a biochemical imbalance in the brain. There’s just advertising. If you go on their websites, they’ll say something like “thought to be caused by a biochemical imbalance” or “may be caused by a biochemical imbalance”.
Patrick: Alright. Hold on. Hold on. You’re telling me that there is no scientific proof that shows that if a person is depressed, there is a chemical imbalance in his brain or body?
Peter: No, there is absolutely none, whatsoever, no.
Patrick: Alright. So how has this lie been propagated?
Peter: Well, it’s very straightforward. Much of it starts with Prozac. Eli Lily, the manufacturer of Prozac has been clever to the point, at times, of outright negligence – as I described in Medication Madness. And even before Prozac was approved by the FDA, Eli Lily was sending out doctors to convince other doctors and the public that biochemical imbalances were the cause of depression and that in particular, a serotonin imbalance causes depression. And all of this was a PR build-up for the eventual approval and then marketing of Prozac and incidentally, they were not even able to show that Prozac was really effective in the FDA trial. They ended up giving a lot of the patients, tranquilizers to calm them down. Most of the trials didn’t show any effectiveness and the drug goes – I argued this and continued to point out in Medication Madness that Prozac probably shouldn’t have been approved in the first place.
Patrick: Alright. Well there’s obviously a lot of important points and a lot of other important questions that I wish to ask including the FDA’s role and how they have come to approve some of these medications. But first, let’s go back to this very important point, probably the most important point of all – does a chemical imbalance exist or not exist in the human brain. What about the brain scans that show different kind of activity in the brain of someone that’s suffering from depression?
Peter: Well first, let me make a few points about this. First of all there aren’t any consistent brain scans that are showing any differences in the brains of anybody with psychiatric disorders other than the changes caused by psychiatric medication. For example, people who take anti-depressants do develop abnormal growth of brain cells and in some cases, there are scans showing shrinkage of brain tissue.
Patrick: I’d like to jump in here. You’re telling me that the people that take anti-depressants actually end up suffering from physical damage to the brain.
Peter: Yes, there are a number of studies now that confirm that not only are there persistent and probably permanent biochemical changes but studies are also showing abnormal cell growth and still distorted in their thinking, all the drug company advocates that they’re now claiming that it’s good for you to have abnormal cell growth from taking anti-depressants. If you are getting abnormal cell growth from drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana, you can bet they wouldn’t be saying it was a good or normal thing.
Patrick: Who is saying it’s good and normal?
Peter: Well actually, in Medication Madness, I cited Johns Hopkins’ press release that went along with the study showing abnormal cellular growth in the brains of adults taking Prozac and the animals taking Prozac. It was animals taking Prozac.
Patrick: Well, what basically they’re saying that this is good.
Peter: They make it up. They’ve done the same thing with children. They have shown that there has been shrinkage in some parts of the brains of children taking anti-depressants and they claim, well the kids had too large an area to start with. This is all quite bizarre but very, very well-documented in really two of my books, Medication Madness, which is a book that tells a lot of detailed life stories of how people have been harmed and driven into madness by the psychiatric drugs and provide some scientific background. And in the same year, 2008, this year also, my medical book was updated, Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry. And in Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, I go into particular depth looking at the studies showing abnormal brain growth, the poisoning of brain cells and so on by pretty much the whole range of psychiatric drugs, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, neuroleptic drugs. I mean, they’re all scientific studies that I’m citing.
There are a whole range of studies now showing that psychiatric drugs pretty much in every category are neurotoxic. That is, they poison brain cells. One of the manifestations has come up in multiple studies or abnormal growth of cells. They get distorted, elongated. They get too many branches. Of the studies, show in children, anti-depressants causing shrinkage in some areas of the brain and other studies show just a variety of not only biochemical and functional changes but anatomical changes. This is truly the mood stabilizers as well and it’s also through the anti-psychotic drugs that we are now giving more and more to children like Risperdal and Zyprexa. So there’s no question that psychiatric drugs cause brain dysfunction and brain damage and that a lot of it is going to be persistent.
And I review these scientific studies in a lot of detail in my book Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry that came out earlier this year and then I give the case illustrations, the stories of people driven into madness by psychiatric drugs and a book that just came out this week called Medication Madness.
Patrick: If you’re saying that these drugs are actually causing physical damage to the brain, what are the long term effects of this? Well the potent ones are obvious but what about the other ones? What are the long term effects of the use of these drugs?
Peter: Well, they probably vary from category to category. The anti-depressants clinically are producing dependence so that the changes in the brain are substantial enough that people can’t stop taking the drugs. They go into withdrawal and that’s something we need to warn people about who are listening to what I’m saying. As frightening as it is to take drugs, these psychiatric dugs, as dangerous as it is, it’s also dangerous to quickly withdraw from them so you need to withdraw from them in a careful way, hopefully with really good, experienced, clinical supervision. But the longer term effects with the anti-depressants seem to be a good part of production of apathy and indifference. People start to care less and less, to feel less and less. With the anti-psychotic drugs, you get a great deal of deterioration overall of the mental functions and with Lithium you get loss of memory and you get problems with concentration and focus over time.
We don’t have good studies, long term of the effects of Ritalin. We tend to want to not look at that in terms of the long term mental effects but we do know that there are persistent biochemical changes that can be detected in the brains of animals given the stimulants like Ritalin and Adderal and amphetamines. We also know that the children become prone as young adults to use cocaine. There’s an increased rate of cocaine abuse because the brain has been changed. That’s the reflection of the permanent change. We also know that growth is stunted, height and weight. Well if you’re stunting growth and it’s not just loss of appetite, you’re actually stunting growth by disrupting growth hormones. You know, one worries about what those effects are going to have on the brain as well.
Patrick: Dr. Breggin if we automatically assume, and I’m asking this question for a reason, if everything you say is true and I have no reason to doubt it because in your books, you cite medical studies; but I must ask the question, why is the FDA okay with this? Why is the government okay with this? And why are the people okay with this?
Peter: Well, to start with the heart of the matter, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that has basically become a partnership between organized psychiatry and medicine and the multi-billion dollar industry. In psychiatry for example, all the journals are supported by advertising from the drug companies. Many of the journals are sent free to doctors by the drug companies. The conferences are supported by the drug companies. Ninety percent of the research is supported by the drug companies’ professorship. Even whole buildings on medical school campuses are paid for by the drug companies. So, you now have a medical profession which is indistinguishable, unfortunately, from the pharmaceutical industry.
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Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.